Why Should An Indian Go To Pakistan?

As an Indian, I am tired of hearing another Indian being asked to “Go to Pakistan”. Why is this not offensive to every Indian? Short of being a Pakistani spy or an illegal immigrant, why are Indians being asked to go to Pakistan? Oh and by the way, Pakistan is not even such a bad place. I went to Pakistan in class 11th as part of an international delegation from school for 10 days. It’s a beautiful place with warm people though its army, government, intelligence agencies, religious heads are messed up (does this sound familiar?). It’s also not as tolerant a nation as ours. And so I get why people want some Indians to go to Pakistan.

But then why don’t Indians want heads of khap panchayats to go to Pakistan? Those heads are more in line with Pakistani religious heads. Or want doctors and parents who commit female foeticide to go to Pakistan? That aligns well with Pakistan’s sex ratio, which by the way, is marginally better than India’s. Or ask educational institution heads who debar women from wearing jeans or interacting with men in colleges to go to Pakistan because that reminds me more of the school I visited there, that didn’t allow girls to dance on stage? I think all these people don’t realize how many things they have in common. It would be a helluva dinner party if all of them got together some day.

Why did we get so offended when an actor said his wife suggested they leave India? If you really have to break it down on religious grounds, I don’t see many people asking his wife to leave, the one to make the statement in the first place. For all religious fanatics, should it not be a matter of concern that a Hindu woman voiced this opinion? Yes, the Muslim man said it on a public platform but he also said that it was horrible that she suggested it. Were the British in 1947 not enough to divide us on religious grounds?

I am not sure why someone like Kiran Rao feels insecure because she and her family live a very privileged life. They have access to 24x7 security for them and their children. But of course, she wasn’t referring to physical safety as much as the security of living in a society where you can voice your opinions and not be punished for doing so. Physical safety is a concern for a villager living in Dadri, not a film star in Mumbai.

Let me first address the other argument that often comes up with this issue: why does India seem intolerant only when Muslims are targeted, and what about the time when Kashmiri Pandits were butchered or when the Sikhs were massacred? If Indians did not get angry, raise their voices or protest against these acts back then, it’s shameful for the country and its people for remaining silent. If our previous generations remained silent, just like they are asking people to remain silent now, then that’s something Indians should be condemned for. But what happened or did not happen in the past cannot and should not justify what is happening in the present.

However, the bigger problem still remains that somehow this kind of anger (whether a Hindu, a Muslim or a Sikh is a victim) is mostly triggered when religion is involved. Who are we kidding? When did we become such devout followers of God or religions? How many principles of Geeta do we follow in our lives? Or of the Quran? Or of the Bible? We become followers when it’s convenient for us.

And, why did we all get so angry at this particular news? One statement divided the country into people who tolerate and who do not. One statement divided it into believers and non believers, into nationalists and anti-nationalists. Why don’t we get so angry when we hear about a farmer suicide? Why don’t we get so angry when we read about the devastating pollution levels in our cities? Why don’t we ask people causing these to leave the country? Why don’t we leave the country if we’re the problem? Why don’t we think — how dare people and we ourselves make this city unliveable for our own children?

I am most familiar with the Geeta so let me talk about that. When Arjun had refused to take up arms against his own kin at the start of the epic battle of Mahabharat, Krishn had said, jo kshatriya ka dharm hai, wo Arjun ko pura karna chahiye.

Hum me se kitne apne apne kaam mein apna kartavya (ya dharm) pura kar rahe hain? Hum me se kitne doosron ke prati apna kartavya pura kar rahe hain? Hum kaunse dharm ka palan kar rahe hain jab hum ghoos lete hain ya dete hain? Ya kachra ghar ke bahar phek dete hain? Tab to koi nahi bolta ye hinduism ke khilaaf hai. Ek padosi ka kya kartavya hai? Ya ek Bhartiya ka kya kartavya hai? Tab to dharm nahi aata dimaag me. Have you ever questioned, what is dharm?

In fact, there’s a new trend these days, “we don’t need religion,” or “religion is the cause of all problems”. Did you ever follow a religion to even denounce it? Did you bother to find out what a religion says before you said we don’t need it? What if religion actually said the exact opposite of what we’re doing? Would we follow it as religiously then? Religion is much more than believing in God. It’s a way of life, a philosophy, an ideology to guide your life and actions.

Having said that, I am not asking people to take up religion as a solution to all our problems. If you have studied religion and found that it divides people or does not align with your belief system, please don’t follow it. But let’s not blame religion for our actions, reactions and over reactions to things, incidents or people that don’t agree with our thought processes and bloated egos.

And, we sure as hell have enough space for an Indian to stay in India.

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